Student-success tech tools see modest adoption rates

Research of tech platforms to support student success shows that campus-wide implementations for holistic student support is not as common as you might think.

Student success initiatives have long been a major priority for higher ed institutions. Yet, adoption of technology platforms across campus to achieve holistic student supports is lacking. Adoption of such tools is gradually increasing, but across three product categories only between 23% and 43% of colleges are using them.

That’s according to the fourth research brief in the “Driving Toward a Degree” series from Tyton Partners, an investment banking and strategy consulting firm focused exclusively on the education market.” The brief focuses on how technology helps facilitate collaboration among student support stakeholders.

Researchers identified over 200 companies providing institutions with student supports technologies across 14 product categories and five workflow areas—institutional planning, student planning, advisor management, student services and faculty teaching.

Here’s what widespread (across campus) adoption looks like in three product categories, chosen because they best demonstrate the complementary role technology plays in facilitating the implementation of holistic student supports:

  • Alerts, signals and notifications: These products influence student behavior and improve student engagement via mobile and/or desktop messages. In 2020, 29% of institutions studied had widespread adoption (the same rate as in 2017).
  • Diagnostics: These tools determine risk factors for different types of students and at different points in the student lifecycle to personalize interventions. In 2020, 23% had widespread adoption (up from 13% in 2017).
  • Caseload management: These platforms ensure the right intervention conversation is had at the right time and by the right person. Widespread adoption for 2020 was at 43% (up from 24% in 2017).

“The results are in line with what we expected,” says Nicholas Java, senior principal at Tyton Partners. “Holistic student supports are easier said than done.”

However, adoption should improve over the next few years, Java adds. “From a glass-half-full perspective, we also gathered from our primary research that more than two-thirds of college and universities are currently pursuing redesign initiatives of their student supports.” He anticipates that technology to help assist and augment advising and facilitate collaboration will be popular choices.

To assist in researching student support products, the research brief includes a graphic featuring companies in each of the workflow areas. Other briefs in the series are available at

Melissa Ezarik is senior managing editor of UB.

Most Popular